For the first time, the Secretary of State will send voter registration forms to hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who were removed from the voting rolls for not voting or updating their addresses with county boards of elections. And while it’s not expected many will be filled out and returned, one voting rights group says it’s a positive move. Secretary of State Frank LaRose said it’s likely the 270,000 people who are getting those registration forms are either dead or have moved. They have already gotten final notices from county boards of elections that they’re being taken off the rolls after six years of non-voting and not updating their addresses – a process that was upheld by the US Supreme Court last year, but one that LaRose wants to change.Full Article: Voter Registration Forms Sent To Thousands Of Recently Deleted Voters | WVXU.
Articles about voting issues in Ohio.
Ohio: Federal judges reject state of Ohio’s request to delay gerrymandering trial | Cleveland Plain Dealer
A three-judge federal panel on Friday rejected a request from the state of Ohio to delay a gerrymandering lawsuit that aims to put a new Ohio congressional district map in place in time for the 2020 election. The state wanted to delay the trial, scheduled to start March 4, until after rulings are released this summer in two gerrymandering cases before the U.S. Supreme Court – one brought by Republicans in Maryland and one brought by Democrats in North Carolina. But the judges in their Friday ruling cited time considerations. The state has said any changes to a map must be in place by Sept. 20, 2019, to get ready for the 2020 election.Full Article: Federal judges reject state of Ohio’s request to delay gerrymandering trial | cleveland.com.
Ohio: New top elections official says Ohio’s congressional lines shouldn’t change before 2020 election | Cleveland Plain Dealer
ew Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said Thursday that he doesn’t think Ohio’s congressional lines should be changed before the 2020 election, something a pending federal lawsuit aims to do. LaRose, a Republican, said Ohio’s current congressional maps are “flawed,” but said changing them in the middle of an election cycle would cause confusion and possible lower turnout as a result. He said Ohio should wait until 2021, when the state will draw the maps using a new process approved by voters last year that was designed to help fix Ohio’s gerrymandered congressional districts. Those maps, if they meet meet new requirements to get minority-party approval, would remain in place for 10 years.Full Article: New top Ohio elections official says Ohio’s congressional lines shouldn’t change before 2020 election | cleveland.com.
Ohio: Federal lawsuit seeks to stop elections boards from blocking ballot initiatives | The Columbus Dispatch
Groups in Columbus and half a dozen other Ohio communities have filed suit in federal court after their efforts to place initiatives on local ballots were blocked by elections boards. Individuals representing ballot efforts in Youngstown and Toledo and Athens, Medina, Meigs and Portage counties joined the filing Friday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio’s Eastern Division in Youngstown. They’re hoping the federal court will do what state courts have not to date — rule that Ohio’s process for reviewing and potentially barring citizen-led initiatives from ballots is unconstitutional. “Just because it’s controversial or the government itself doesn’t particularly like the idea, that doesn’t mean the people shouldn’t have a right to vote on it,” said Tish O’Dell, Ohio community organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which is assisting the local groups with the legal challenge.Full Article: Federal lawsuit seeks to stop elections boards from blocking ballot initiatives - News - The Columbus Dispatch - Columbus, OH.
After months of debating options, the Miami County Board of Elections voted 3-1 Tuesday to buy a paper ballot and scanning voting system to replace the touch-screen system in use since 2006. The new system could be in use by the May election. The vote came during a meeting to discuss the November election when 6,288 early voting ballots went uncounted. The board fired Director Beverly Kendall on Tuesday and said it would investigate. The Ohio Secretary of State said Tuesday night he was launching an investigation. Frank LaRose said the “failure by the Miami County Board of Elections is unacceptable.”Full Article: Miami County switching to paper ballots after election error.
Newly elected Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose says he won’t stop the state’s voter purges, but he wants to reduce dramatically the number of inactive voters removed going forward. Ohio’s method of removing inactive voters from the rolls led to a U.S. Supreme Court fight between ballot access advocates and the state. In the end, the top court upheld Ohio’s voter purge for those who haven’t voted or updated their residency in six years. LaRose, who was sworn in Saturday, told The Enquirer that Ohio’s current process is less than ideal and “kind of antiquated.” But he won’t halt the removal of voters initiated by former Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted earlier this month.Full Article: Ohio's new elections chief wants to cut back on voter purge.
The Ohio Secretary of State’s office is sending “last chance” notifications to some 275,000 inactive voters across the state, giving them a final shot at keeping voting registrations active on county rolls.
In Montgomery County, some 17,918 residents should receive the notices, according to the secretary’s office. They will also go to 6,912 Butler County residents and 5,273 residents in Warren County. The secretary’s office says voters get six years to respond to county boards of elections to confirm registrations. If residents don’t respond or don’t vote in at least 12 elections, don’t request absentee ballot applications in even-numbered year general elections or don’t have their information automatically updated in transactions with Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices — if voters “ignore” those attempts to keep them on the rolls, they are sent a “last chance” notice, said a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, Matthew McClellan.
Ohio’s elections chief said Wednesday that more than 275,000 inactive Ohio voters are about to get their final opportunity to keep from dropping off the rolls. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted said that’s the total number of so-called “last chance mailings” going out from county boards of elections as part of Ohio’s contested process for keeping its list of eligible voters up-to-date. Ohio’s procedure for maintaining its voter rolls is considered one of the most stringent in the nation, because it employs a “supplemental process” that has led to the removal of thousands of people who failed to vote and then didn’t respond to government requests to affirm their registrations.Full Article: Ohio Sends 'Purge' Warnings To 275,000 Inactive Voters | WOSU Radio.
In a win for a group of Democratic voters, a three-judge panel ruled Monday that the former chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee must turn over emails and other documents about the 2011 redistricting of Ohio’s legislative maps. In May, a coalition of Democratic voters and groups, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, sued Governor John Kasich and other Republican lawmakers in Cincinnati federal court. They urged the court to enjoin a redistricting statute that the GOP used to redraw maps, arguing it gave an unfair advantage to Republicans at the expense of Democratic voters. The Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, an advocacy group for black trade unionists, and its co-plaintiffs claim the Republican State Leadership Committee sought to control the redistricting process to “solidify conservative policymaking at the state level, and to maintain a Republican stronghold in the U.S. House of Representatives for the next decade.”Full Article: Republicans Ordered to Hand Over Records on Ohio Maps.
Ohioans are closer to getting new voting machines. Secretary of State Jon Husted has notified county boards of elections they can start the process of selecting new equipment. “Ohio’s voters will soon say goodbye to aging voting equipment that pre-dates the first generation iPhone,” Husted said in a statement Thursday. State lawmakers approved the Voting Equipment Acquisition Program this year. It sets aside $104.5 million to purchase new equipment for Ohio’s 88 counties. Under the program, each county’s commissioners can select a voting system, equipment and services from five voting system vendors.Full Article: Ohio Counties Getting State Funding For New Voting Machines | WOSU Radio.
Ohio: Court orders boards of election to count provisional ballots in midterms for certain voters purged from rolls | Cleveland Plain Dealer
A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered boards of election in Ohio to count provisional election ballots for the 2018 midterm elections that are cast by certain people previously purged from the state’s voter rolls. A three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that votes cast by people purged from the rolls between 2011 and 2015 must be counted if they still live in the same county of their last registration and if they are not disqualified from voting because of a felony conviction, mental incapacity or death. The panel’s injunction comes as progressive advocacy groups appeal Senior U.S. District Judge George Smith’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit against Secretary of State Jon Husted that said notices the state sent to inactive voters were inadequate under federal law. Should the groups be successful on appeal, some voters may be wrongly denied the ability to vote unless the injunction is in place, the panel wrote.Full Article: Court orders Ohio boards of election to count provisional ballots in midterms for certain voters purged from rolls | cleveland.com.
Ohio: Federal judge deals another blow to group challenging voter roll purge | Cleveland Plain Dealer
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that notification forms Ohio sends to voters in its process to remove inactive voters from its rolls are compliant with federal law, dealing another blow to a group challenging the state’s voter purge process. The groups suing Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said all voters the state deleted from its rolls from 1995 through 2016 through a disputed process were actually removed unlawfully because the state’s notices for removal didn’t comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. Senior U.S. District Judge George Smith disagreed in an opinion issued Wednesday, largely ruling against the plaintiffs and saying the forms complied with federal law. He struck down arguments from the plaintiffs that said voters weren’t told of the deadlines to respond to the forms and weren’t informed of the consequences of failing to respond.Full Article: Federal judge deals another blow to group challenging Ohio's voter roll purge | cleveland.com.
Ohio: Challenge to Ohio’s voting roll purges persists after Supreme Court decision | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Three months after they lost a U.S. Supreme Court challenge to Ohio’s process for removing inactive voters from its rolls, the lawsuit’s plaintiffs are back in federal court with a related claim: the notification forms Ohio used to initiate voter removal are illegal. The plaintiffs say all voters the state deleted from the rolls from 1995 through 2016 through the disputed process upheld by the Supreme Court were actually removed unlawfully because the state’s notices for removal didn’t comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. On Sept. 14, the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and Larry Harmon asked U.S. District Judge George C. Smith to reinstate all eligible voters who were sent the deficient notices, or take other measures to protect their voting rights in next month’s election.Full Article: Challenge to Ohio's voting roll purges persists after Supreme Court decision | cleveland.com.
With Ohio facing a rare general election these days without major litigation hanging over the ballot process, voting rights groups on Wednesday staked out their hopes for future changes to make voting easier. The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, consisting of groups like the League of Women Voters of Ohio and the new All Voting is Local, called for automatic voter registration for those eligible to vote, expanded early voting hours and days, and improvements in online voter registration. “When a quarter of those who are eligible are not registered and we have even worse turnout rates, we understand that the system is clearly not working,” League Executive Director Jen Miller said. While none of these proposed changes could happen in time to affect the Nov. 6 election, these discussions have been incorporated into the debate over who will succeed Secretary of State Jon Husted. The next secretary of state will be either state Sen. Frank LaRose (R., Hudson) or state Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D., Kent).Full Article: Groups seek expanded voting opportunities - The Blade.
Armed with keyboards and processors, Ohio’s newest security force may one day deploy not to deal with natural disasters, but rather network disasters. Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio’s adjutant general, said that under the direction of Gov. John Kasich, he started the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee to determine what Ohio needs to do to improve cybersecurity and training. Part of those efforts, he said, is to create an Ohio Cyber Reserve Force, a team of civilian information-technology experts that could be activated by the governor, working for the Ohio National Guard, to respond to major cyberattacks against state or local infrastructures. “If there is a major incident within the state then the governor could call them out and put them on state active duty, just like we do with the National Guard,” Bartman said.Full Article: An Ohio Cybersecurity Reserve Could Soon Respond to Network Emergencies.
Ohio: Republican officials lose bid to dismiss gerrymandering suit over congressional map | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Three federal judges have rejected a request by Republican elected leaders in Ohio to dismiss a lawsuit that says the judges should toss out the state’s congressional district map because it’s gerrymandered. Judges Karen Nelson Moore, Timothy Black and Michael Watson ruled Wednesday that the constitutional violations the group challenging Ohio’s map allege are still germane despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the issue from earlier this year.Full Article: Ohio Republican officials lose bid to dismiss gerrymandering suit over congressional map | cleveland.com.
A three-judge panel on Wednesday declined to throw out a gerrymandering lawsuit against Republican officials in Ohio, finding that a group of Democratic voters established legal standing to bring the challenge. In May, a coalition of Democratic voters and groups, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, sued Governor John Kasich and other Republican lawmakers in Cincinnati federal court. They urged the court to enjoin a 2011 redistricting statute that the GOP used to redraw maps, arguing it gave an unfair advantage to Republicans at the expense of Democratic voters. Republicans would win 12 congressional districts and Democrats four districts, even as the statewide share of the vote for each party shifted over three congressional elections between 2013 and 2016.Full Article: Panel Advances Challenge to Ohio Voting Maps.
A new generation of voting machines may soon be on the way thanks to a bill signed by Gov. John Kasich, which will allow $114.5 million to be distributed among Ohio’s 88 counties. “New” generation, however, may mean taking a step back in time. Voters in 41 counties, including Butler, Montgomery and Greene, have been using direct-recording electronic voting machines, or DREs, which requires the use of a touchscreen. But now, more counties are considering using paper ballots, as no DRE machine is currently certified for use in Ohio. That leaves many counties looking at a switch to paper ballots and optical-scanning equipment to count ballots, or hybrid systems coming at more than twice the price that employ touchscreens to mark a paper ballot. “I know people think that’s going backwards,” Butler County Board of Elections Director Diane Noonan said. “But you have to look at these machines and understand that paper is not what they think it is.” Warren, Preble and Clark counties already use paper ballots.Full Article: Ohio Counties Consider Move from Electronic to Paper Voting Systems.
Ohio: Franklin County finds hundreds of uncounted votes in already too-close-to-call special election | The Hill
Ohio election officials on Wednesday found 588 previously uncounted votes in its hotly contested special election for the state’s 12th Congressional District. Officials found the votes in a Columbus suburb, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, netting Democratic candidate Danny O’Connor 190 more votes and narrowing his race against Republican Troy Balderson to 1,564 votes. “The votes from a portion of one voting location had not been processed into the tabulation system,” the Franklin County Board of Elections said in a news release obtained by the paper. Balderson, who was backed by President Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) during his campaign, claimed a narrow victory on Tuesday night for the district which Trump won and which has been held by a Republican since 1983.Full Article: Ohio county finds hundreds of uncounted votes in already too-close-to-call special election | TheHill.
The “missing ballots” in Ohio’s special election have caused a stir – but analysts said they really aren’t a mystery and often pop up in elections across the country. Under the rush of election nights, voting precinct officials nationwide often misplace ballots or send them to the wrong office. And those ballots are just as often discovered via audits or recounts, analysts said. “It’s not unusual,” said Fred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21, a watchdog organization based in Washington, D.C. “It’s one of the reasons people do recounts in close races.” Post-election audits also yield uncounted votes, as happened this week in the special election for Ohio’s 12th congressional district.Full Article: Ohio special election: This is why election ballots go missing.